U.S. Viewers Trust -- And Don't Trust -- TV News
U.S. viewers are a polarized lot. The group that trusts a lot isn't the group that trusts so little. CNN came in second place as the most trusted. (They came in fourth place on the least trusted question).
Fox News is also one of the most-viewed cable networks -- not just among TV news networks, but entertainment channels, sports channels, home improvement channels, and mixed marital arts channels.
What does that tell you? That Fox News must be great viewing -- for some. Fox was most trusted, at 30% of its respondents -- as well as least trusted, at 26.2%. As far the other networks are concerned, there were fewer emotional swings on both ends of the trust spectrum.
For TV advertisers, all this seems necessary information. It plays into audience metric lexicon of "engagement" that major TV advertiser have tossed around in recent years.
In the same study, Bill O'Reilly, perhaps the primary face of Fox News, was ranked in the middle of the pack when it came to news anchors and trust -- Charles Gibson (19.8%), Brian Williams (17.3%), Katie Couric (9.9%), Bill O'Reilly (9.3%), Tom Brokaw (8.0%) and Jim Lehrer (2.4%).
Other studies might show a more consistent approach when it comes to the whole "trust" issue. But the more complex picture tells a lot more. It says U.S. viewers are desperate for accurate news and information.
For example, 54.0% said they believe "some" news media reporting, while 20.4% believing "little or no news' media reporting." That doesn't leave much left of those who believe in "most" news reporting overall.
How does Sacred Heart rectify this? It comes down to an overall opinion of viewers not really trusting any news organization.
"The American people have become increasingly skeptical and suspicious towards institutions which they perceive as distant and manipulative," say the authors of the report. "Small wonder that the media, which is now controlled by a handful of large corporations, is perceived in such a negative light."